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Canon 20D Comparison Review

The Canon EOS 20D is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in August 2004 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 8.2 megapixel.

camera

Is the Canon 20D a good camera? The 20D has a Camera Elo of 1063. This rating puts the 20D below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the 20D also ranks below average. – Well, the Canon 20D is more than 16 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2004.

Headline Specifications
Canon 20D
Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video
ISO 100 - 1 600 (100 - 3 200)
Optical viewfinder
1.8 LCD, 118k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second
700 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Canon 20D vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Canon 20D vs credit card front
20D versus credit card top view
20D and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Canon 20D alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
2.
 
Canon 7D II 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i
3.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
4.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
5.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
6.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
8.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
9.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
10.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
11.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon 20D was launched in the US market at a price of $1,499. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Canon 20D:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Canon 20D features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Canon 20D among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Canon 20D sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
2.
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
3.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
4.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
5.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
6.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
7.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
8.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
9.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
10.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
11.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the 20D does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 20D has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.56x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 20D and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
4.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
6.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
7.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n

One convenient feature of the 20D is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 20D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
2.
 
Canon 7D IIYstereo / monoYYmini3.0---
3.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon 7DYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
7.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
10.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
11.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 20D handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
2.
 
Canon 7D II4.5/5+3.5/584/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i
3.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
4.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
5.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
6.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
8.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
9.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
10.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
11.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 20D FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the 20D.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the 20D?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Canon equipped the 20D with the DIGIC 2 image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the 20D?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Canon EOS 20D?

Canon mentions a shutter rating of 50 000 actuations for the 20D. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the 20D over, say, three years, one would have to take about 50 pictures each and every day.

Does the Canon 20D feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The 20D's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Which battery does the 20D use?

The camera gets its power from the BP-511A (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the 20D?

Yes, Canon offers the BG-E2N as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Canon 20D
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2004
    Launch Price USD 1 499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm
    Sensor Area 338 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3 504 x 2 336 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1 600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3 200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 2
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 721
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Size 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 72 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 770 g (27.2 oz)

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